BRUSSELS - Chinese hardwood chip imports are set to double over the next five years, to 12.7 million BDMT (for Bone Dry Metric Tons) in 2016, placing it on course to be the world's largest hardwood chip importer.

According to a new study from forest products research group RISI, Japan will lose its status as top improter of hardwood chips, falling from 9.9 million BDMT to 8.6 million BDMT in the same period, the lowest volume of imports since 1993. 

China's imports of hardwood chips have increased six-fold over the last four years to 6.2 million BDMT. This surge in volume was the result of large new pulp mills being built in China near port facilities. Expected construction of a series of new pulp mills over the next several years will drive China's demand for hardwood chips even higher, RISI says.

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